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In case you think you’ve noticed more Chinese sightseers lately,
you’re not mistaken. According to global accommodation booking
website Hotels.com, Chinese travellers continue to take the world by
stor m, their numbers up 20 per cent to 107 million in 20141. And
there’s seemingly no stopping the r ising tide, with the land of the
long white cloud in their sights too.
More than 264,000 visitors from China ar r ived in New Zealand
in 2014, representing an increase of more than 15 per cent on the
previous year, while China remained New Zealand’s second-highest
inbound market after Australia.
What’s more, according to the latest Hotels.com Chinese
Inter national Travel Monitor, Chinese travellers are younger, more
independent-minded and tech-savvy – and increasingly cashed up.
The report reveals too that New Zealand was the country where
Chinese travellers spent the most on hotel accommodation globally
in 2014.The Hotels.com report also highlights the need for hoteliers
to cater to Chinese travellers’ needs such as Chinese-speaking staff,
Chinese-language tour ist guides and dedicated websites.
A definite feature of this year’s results is the growing financial
muscle of the top 10 per cent of travellers in ter ms of their
travel spend. On RMB 13,800 (NZ$2,927) per day including
accommodation, they parted with over 4 times more than that of the
average traveller, who spent a total of RMB 3,324 (NZ$705) per day.
However, this pales into insignificance in compar ison with the top
five per cent of spenders, who shelled out six times more than the
average (RMB 20,896/ NZ$4,433), indicating the emergence of a
‘super-luxur y’ class of traveller.
Using the inter net to research and book overseas trips has
become the nor m for Chinese travellers, while the use of mobile
phones for planning and booking their travel has skyrocketed. In
the past 12 months, 80 per cent of Chinese travellers have used
an online device including mobiles, desktops and laptops to plan
and book travel, compared with only 53 per cent last year. Half
of all Chinese inter national travellers now use apps on their smart
phones to plan and book trips, up from just 17 percent the
Strong growth in Chinese international travel numbers
Award-winning restaurant Lombardi in Queenstown’s premier boutique
hotel, Hotel St Mor itz, has launched a stellar new winter menu.
Designed and created by executive chef Avi Yochay, the menu boasts
fresh, locally sourced produce, and includes brand new dishes and
retur ning Lombardi favour ites.
New additions to the entrée menu include crusted Otago hare loin,
an extremely tender dish when cooked medium-rare and the potato
and herbed gnocchi, r ich with the taste of the Mediter ranean.
Lombardi classics include Atlantic scallops and pork belly and duck
r illettes, a quintessential countryside dish or iginally introduced to the
menu by a French chef.
For mains, it’s all about local fare with the Central Otago lamb – cooked
for 48 hours at 70C - and the premium grade Silver Fer n Southland beef
fillet, deliciously tender no matter how it’s chosen to be cooked.
Lombardi wood-fired pizzas are somewhat legendary amongst guests
and locals. They only take a few minutes to cook from dough lovingly
prepared in-house and are the perfect winter re-fuel option after a day
on the slopes. Chef Avi Yochay said he’s “very proud” of the new menu
and is enjoying hear ing positive feedback from guests as they sample
new additions. “It’s always fantastic to introduce new winter dishes as
there’s something so heart-war ming about coming in from the cold and
tucking into delicious, flavoursome and comforting food,” he said.
“I also like to bring back old Lombardi favour ites, as it’s a nice
sur prise to many of our regulars and also gives first-timers the chance
to sample some of our classic dishes.”
Chef Avi is Lombardi’s key ingredient. Born in Israel, his culinary
style is heavily influenced by a range of cultures and cuisines, brought
into his country by travelling Jews who settled from all over the world.
With a father from Yemen and a mother from Libya, his cultural
background influenced his passion for food from a young age when he
first trained to be a chef, ahead of compulsory militar y service which
set him off on his travels.
Like many before and after, chef Avi fell in love with Queenstown
and settled in the resort town, enrolling at Otago Polytech’s Cromwell
campus to resume his chef ’s training.
Hotel St Moritz opened 17 years ago and chef Avi first walked
through the door a year later. With 16 years of service under his belt, he’s
single-handedly lead the way in Lombardi’s success, developing it into the
award-winning, stylish, and char ismatic restaurant that it is today. “Chef
Avi’s fascinating cultural background is reflected wonderfully in the new
winter menu,” said acting general manager Jo Finnigan.
Lombardi also continues to innovate and raise standards by reducing
waste, on a daily basis. Chef Avi’s ingenious idea of using unused milk
from the breakfast buffet to produce a range of curd-based cheeses,
is a unique and sustainable way of adding further authenticity and
taste sensation to Lombardi’s offer ing.The delicious cheeses, feta and
mozzarella, are used on the wood-fired pizzas.
Not much is wasted after breakfast is served, as for just $15 guests can pack
their own lunch-in-a-box from the buffet, perfect for people on the go and
with tight itinerar ies. “We’re finding many guests are skiing or sightseeing
for most of the day and want quick and healthy options for lunch,” said
Ms Finnigan. “They want to have food already in their backpacks, which is
sometimes tricky to prepare when you’re staying in a hotel.”
Hotel St Mor itz has won numerous accolades for its fare including
Best Restaurant in Queenstown, Chef of the Year in the Monteiths’
Wild Food Challenge and most recently it won Best Lamb Dish in
Central Otago at the New Zealand Beef and Lamb Awards.
New winter menu
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